Amino Acid Composition of Protein-Enriched Dried Pasta: Is It Suitable for a Low-Carbohydrate Diet?

Sebastjan Filip* and Rajko Vidrih

Department of Food Science and Technology, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Jamnikarjeva 101,
SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Article history:
Received December 10, 2014
Accepted April 10, 2015

Key words:
plant protein extract, high-protein food, pasta, body mass, low-carbohydrate 
diet, obesity

Today, obesity is one of the major health problems, a so-called epidemic of the developed world. Obesity arises through an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure, so it is important for products to have a balanced nutritional composition. The aim of this study is to prepare high-protein pasta with high nutritional quality, with emphasis on its amino acid composition, as ordinary durum pasta lacks lysine and threonine. Ordinary durum wheat pasta contains, on average, 77 % carbohydrate, and can have even less than 10 % protein. It is therefore oft en excluded from normal energy-restricted diets, and especially from low-carbohydrate diets. In this study pasta that can satisfy the nutritional requirements of a low-carbohydrate diet and is suitable for daily use was developed and evaluated. Protein-enhanced pasta was produced by adding high amounts of plant protein extract (40 % dry matter) without (plain high-protein pasta) or with 3 % dried spinach powder (high-protein spinach pasta) to durum wheat semolina. According to the sensory analysis data, the addition of 40 % of plant protein extract satisfi ed sensory and nutritional requirements, allowing further development and evaluation for possible marketing. This analysis shows that these high-protein neutral and spinach pasta contain 36.4 and 39.6 g of protein per 100 g of dry mass, 12.07 and 14.70 g of total essential amino acids per 100 g of dry mass, and a high content of branched-chain amino acids, i.e. 5.54 and 6.65 g per 100 g of dry mass, respectively. This therefore represents a true alternative to durum wheat pasta for low-carbohydrate diets.

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